It is hard to believe that the summer has passed us by so quickly and that the back-to-school season has officially begun. Walking into our local shops, it is clear that they are well prepared to equip our young learners to go back to school. However, there are also many ways that parents can help their child successfully return to school.
1. Talk with your child. Whether your child is returning to school or entering school for the first time they are probably feeling a little jittery. Keeping an open line of communication allows them to express their feelings and feel validated that you are there to listen to them. Change can be stressful for both parents and students, so it is important to remind them that the transition is temporary and once they become settled with their daily school routines, their nervous feelings will begin to subside.
2. Create a sense of community. Remember that classes always change and your child may not find themselves with the same group of friends that they had in their previous class. As the new school year approaches have your child get in contact with their friends. Not only will this help break the ice with socializing with their friends again, but it will also make them feel more comfortable if they know at least one student on their first recess break.
3. Help your kids get involved. Provide your children with the opportunity to meet other kids their age who share similar interests. Consider taking them to the public library, recreation programs, sports teams, and community groups. It is highly likely that your child will be making new friends in the new school year, so we can help them use these socialization skills in a similar scenario. You yourself may also get involved with the school and local community. Research has shown that parent involvement in their child’s education improves student success.
4. Visit the school. Take your children on a trip to visit the school before their first day back. Find out as much information as you can, such as school hours, bus arrangements, school calendar, and dress code, and share it with your child. This will help ease their transition or re-familiarize themselves with school policies and procedures.
5. Get into the groove. We all know how routine helps reduce stress and this is no different when it comes to our children. You may want to ease your child into the back-to-school routines at least one week before they go back to school. Have them practice picking their clothes the night before, waking up on time, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and leaving for school on time or walking to the bus stop. You may also want to reduce the amount of time that your child watches television or plays videos games to mirror the “screen” time that they wold expect during the school year. Anticipating what a normal school week is going to be like will help to ensure that the first day of school goes over smoothly.
6. Get organized. This is not only important for determining where their backpack goes, but also creating folders for school papers and organizing school binders and stationary. Keep a calendar handy where your child can regularly see when assignments are due, when they have a test, and which days they have extra-curricular activities and at what time. By creating structure in the home, this will hopefully help your child stay organized at school.
These are just some of the many ways that we can help ease the transition back to school so that our young learners have the most successful educational experience. Remember that our children will mirror us. Be positive, encouraging, and optimistic about the new year they are about to face.